A decision by a key European Parliament committee to approve Romania's nomination for a seat of European Commissioner on Thursday prompted waves of political pressure on the government back in Bucharest. With prime minister Viorica Dancila on a trip to the United States, the opposition and the president pressed the head of government to urgently pick a replacement for rejected nominee Rovana Plumb.
Plumb, a prominent member of the governing Social Democrats (PSD) and top of the list candidate for the party in the European elections in May, had been selected as Romania's nomination for the European Commission despite many controversies.
But now the JURI Committee of the EP decided to reject her "by a large majority". Committee members and other officials had voiced concern about discrepancies between various forms of wealth statement Rovana Plumb had submitted.
- Meanwhile, back home, reports suggest she might have lost a significant amount of money that she contributed to the PSD electoral campaign for the EP elections, due to irregularities found by the Electoral Authority.
The rejection of Plumb - and also of the Hungarian nominee for an EC seat - by the EP committee on Thursday are complicating procedures significantly. The vote means that the next steps for the approval in other EP committees are blocked. The procedure is suspended until the president of the Committee makes a decision.
In these circumstances, pressure mounts on PM Dancila, the head of the government in Bucharest, to pick another candidate and ease European procedures. Dancila is also reportedly pressed from within the PSD on the electoral money the party supporters appear to have lost due to irregularities in providing reports to the electoral authorities.
On Thursday afternoon, President Iohannis called the EP committee vote "a major failure for the PSD government, which creates prejudice for Romania". He urged the PM to withdraw Plumb's nomination and make a new one with the approval of the President and green light from the Parliament.
- Opposition representatives have also condemned Dancila and her government over the failure.
Meanwhile, PSD sources have circulating names as possible new nominees. These include Dan Nica, a MEP whose name had been circulated before as Romania's possible nomination for the European Commission. ANother is Foreign minister Ramona Manescu, but also Finance minister Eugen Teodorovici and a former minister with experience in European affairs, Victor Negrescu, sources told HotNews.ro.